Wetland status, change, and seasonal inundation dynamics for assessing the vulnerability of waterfowl habitat within the ABoVE study domain

Regions: Dehcho Region, South Slave Region

Tags: physical sciences, remote sensing, wetlands, wildlife habitat, waterfowl, vegitation

Principal Investigator: French, Nancy H (2)
Licence Number: 16644
Organization: Michigan Tech Research Institute
Licensed Year(s): 2020 2019
Issued: Dec 17, 2019
Project Team: Michael Battaglia, Liza Jenkins, Laura Bourgeau-Chavez, Jeremy Graham, Kevin Smith, Bruce Chapman, Stuart Slattery, Michael Merchent, Jennifer Baltzer, Christoper Spence, Andrew Poley

Objective(s): To characterize changes in waterfowl habitat using remote sensing approaches developed during prior NASA ABoVE research campaigns; and, to assess the efficacy of the remote sensing products for analyzing spatial and temporal dynamics of waterfowl habitat suitability.

Project Description: This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.4624.

The main project goal is to characterize changes in waterfowl habitat using remote sensing approaches developed during prior NASA ABoVE research campaigns. The first objective is to create wetland type and surface inundation products (maps) for the ABoVE boreal region. The second objective is to assess the efficacy of the remote sensing products for analyzing spatial and temporal dynamics of waterfowl habitat suitability.

Wetland mapping will build on previous Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI) methods that combines mutli-season, multi-sensor (EO, SAR) remote sensing products with field validated data to produce classification models. Field visits will focus on assessing wetland class. Random wetland sites will be selected from previously completed wetland maps (DUC Earth Cover, DUC CWCS, or MTRI ABoVE maps). Each site will be representative of a half acre plot (~40x50 meters) to represent the minimum mapping unit for the output classified map products. At each half acre plot, field teams will collect GPS coordinates using handheld GPS units and will measure a variety of parameters including ecosystem type, dominant vegetation species, other occurring plant species, vegetation heights, density estimates, and topographic position. GPS enabled rugged digital cameras will be used to take photographs in the four cardinal directions and nadir at plot center for each sampling location as well. These data will be input into a GIS for use as validation data with the output map products.

The research team will have discussions with individuals and communities, as well as providing informational handouts. MTRI staff have attending workshops in the past that have included local government and community members.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from May 1, 2020 to October 31, 2020.